FOSM were delighted to Fund £2500 worth of equipment for a new sensory room.
Lewis Roberts-O’Brien - Therapeutic Activity Co-ordinator – gave Trustees and volunteer of the Friends a tour of some of the sensory room and what it has to offer. Lewis commented “The Team on Seagrove Ward are very proud of the room and the excellent benefits the current and future patients will get from it. We are very grateful for the funding to make this idea a reality so a massive thank you to the Friends from the whole of Seagrove ward”.
Lewis let us know the story of the room - The now sensory room was originally an activity room, however was used more as storage room, due to the then limited storage space available on the ward. Since then we have accessed more storage space off the ward and this freed up space in the activity room and Donna had the wonderful idea of applying to for funding to transform this into a sensory room for our patients, and we were lucky enough for this to be agreed in the 2022 Friends Fund applications. The whole ward was on board with this idea and Donna and I soon started creating a list of potential sensory items and decoration for the new project. On the ward I spent time with both patients and staff looking over the list and discussing which we felt would be most beneficial and appropriate. Balancing potential risk and benefits of items was a team wide discussion and included lots of ideas of how to reduce risk to allow the creation of this ambient space on an otherwise fairly clinical feeling ward.
Once the list was finalised, items started arriving a couple at a time, some trusted patients enjoyed opening the parcels with staff, testing the new equipment and discussing placements and the layout of the room with staff. This in itself was a therapeutic activity and the very start of the benefits the sensory room would have to offer patients.
Piece by piece equipment arrived and the sensory room was built until our final items the large bubble tube and blackout blind completed the look, with the bubble tube serving as an impressive, eye catching centre piece.
The sensory room is a highly sought after space by patients, an escape from the sometimes monotonous, clinical life of staying in a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. It serves as a treat for all the senses with a diffuser to fill the air with a beautiful selection of scented oils, a variety of mesmerising coloured lights and plenty of tactile toys to stretch, squish and feel run over your skin. We have a speaker that can play nature sounds, as well as relaxing music and guided meditation sessions. We have a number of steel tongue drums that are easy to play and create soothing sounds, perfect for some creative expression.
The room can be used as a de-escalation tool when someone is feeling anxious or overwhelmed and can be used as a chill out space to help with relaxation and promote good sleep. We offer time in the sensory room to help patients learn to regulate their emotions without the overreliance on sedating medication.
Donna White - Specialist Occupational Therapist of the Memory Service also let us know the excellent benefits of the sensory room
“The completion of the Sensory Room within Sevenacres Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit will benefit patient care immensely. The room has enabled a non-clinical therapeutic environment that provides a calming, immersive and interactive space to offer people when they are feeling fearful and at their most vulnerable, emotionally, and psychologically.
The aim is that the room will enhance patient experience by reducing the need for excess medication. Enabling a safe space, away from the noise and distractions of a ward environment, will help to de-escalate emotions, manage anxiety, promote relaxation, and empower people to build resilience and coping strategies that can in incorporated into everyday life. Staff will also be able to utilise the space to effectively de-brief from the often-emotive environment that they expertly work within to facilitate the recovery of people with severe and acute mental health needs.
The funding has also enabled portable sensory equipment to be purchased for the Sevenacres Occupational Therapy Department, benefiting all the patients in Sevenacres that access this service within their recovery.
As a team, we were incredibly grateful for the funding and have already seen the room utilised with positive outcomes, enhancing the effectiveness and quality of care that can be offered on admission to the unit.”
Pictures: Lesley Myland - Chairman of the Friends, Carol Wootton - Director and Shop Volunteer and Lewis Roberts-O’Brien - Therapeutic Activity Co-ordinator